Monday, July 14, 2014

Second Trimester Survival Guide

Overall, my second trimester experience was extremely wonderful.  We got to watch our babe grow by watching my belly grow, find out she's a she and name her, and feel her kicks go from gentle to crazy--the last three months have been so sweet! 

However, there were a few things that definitely helped make the past thirteen weeks more comfortable.  Growing a human is hard work, and I'm thankful I was able to figure out a few things that made us feel more relaxed fairly easily.

Second Trimester Necessities

1. Body Pillow
My belly wasn't much of a belly throughout the first half of the this tri--I was still sleeping pretty comfortably, although I had to adjust to sleeping on my side instead of my stomach. But when baby girl started popping out a little more, it became increasingly more difficult to find a relaxing position at night.  I highly recommend investing in a body pillow (or a fancy pregnancy pillow--I've heard good things but haven't tried one!)--lying on my side with one leg kind of straddling the pillow and both arms wrapped around it is the only way I've found I can relax my hips and back.  
2. Healthy Snacks/Meal Plan
My appetite did a complete 180 at the beginning of this trimester--I went from never wanting to see or smell food to wanting to eat ALL THE THINGS ALL THE TIME.  Planning our meals and shopping for those specific recipes/snacks at the beginning of the week helped me fight the temptation to run out and grab whatever I wanted whenever I wanted.  I for sure still indulged a few cravings, but for the most part having healthy, fresh food around the house just made it easier to reach for an apple or cottage cheese instead of going through a drive through for ice cream every day.
3. A Cute Dress, or Two
Watching my body change and knowing it was completely out of my control was a strange new experience this trimester--although I feel extremely comfortable in my pregnant skin, I don't necessarily feel cute or desirable (for my husband, of course).  This is partially because I no longer have a feminine little waistline (I guess being pregnant is feminine, but in a different way), and partially because most of my cute clothes no longer fit.  It's a lot easier and more comfortable to throw on athletic shorts and a big workout t-shirt these days.  But when my second wedding of the summer rolled around and I realized I couldn't zip up any of my nice dresses, Daniel and I went shopping.  I bought a clingy long black dress that actually makes me feel like a girl, and I've worn the heck out of it the past month (including in several of the photos above).  I recommend finding at least one outfit that makes you feel really good and rock it as often as you need to! :)
4. Camera
Looking through the photos above makes me so thankful documenting a special journey like this one is so easy in this day and age.  And more than anything, it makes me so excited to take photos of Eden when she's here!
5. Daily Exercise
I've touched on this before so I won't beat a dead horse, but I really do owe my energy to my workout routine.  Every time I go to write on this topic, I hear Elle Woods (Legally Blonde) say, "Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. And happy people just don't shoot their husbands."  So there's that.
6. Recommended Reading
With my body changing and so many major milestones being reached during this trimester (finding out the gender, reaching the point where the babe could live if she were born), Daniel and I had a lot of questions.  Having a doctor or midwife you trust who can not only answer those questions but recommend further reading and research for you is super important--we've been reading "The Thinking Woman's Guide to A Better Birth," "The Birth Partner," and are beginning "The Husband-Coached Childbirth" for our Bradley birthing classes.  I also downloaded the BabyCenter app shortly after finding out I was pregnant, and reading what other women are experiencing and learning on there has been really helpful, too.
7. Projects/Goals/Things to Do!
Although this trimester is full of so many exciting checkpoints, it can drag a little when you feel like you have too much energy and not enough to do.  Starting the nursery a couple of weeks ago got me really pumped, but I did have to wait until the end of this tri for that project.  Luckily we moved a couple of months ago, and I had an entire house to set up and decorate, as well as a summer full of photo shoots. Keeping myself busy and focused helped a lot when I started feeling like the babe was a fantasy I'd never actually experience.
We had the BEST time in Austin, even though we were only there for a few days.  If staying somewhat close and not taking off an entire week or two is all you can manage for a vacation with your boo, please still consider doing it.  We felt SO refreshed and more on the same page than ever and I will cherish the memories of that last little pre-children trip for the rest of my life.
Although ours came after the most challenging week and was a little spur of the moment, I loved setting aside a special time to share our joy with sweet friends!
10.  Mini Shopping Spree
On a similar note, if you decide to find out what you're having like we did, celebrate a little by buying one or two gender specific items.  Guys, let your wives be crazy and giddy over how cute baby clothes are, now that you know you're having a boy or girl!  If you decide to wait until your babe is born, I'd still say treat yourself to a mid-pregnancy shopping trip for a gender neutral item or two.  Finding out your little one is healthy and on track is absolutely exciting enough, and the halfway-point ultrasound makes the whole experience so much more real.  Soak it up!

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